(Refiles to add MILAN dateline)
SAO PAULO/MILAN Oct 18 Telecom Italia is not
currently interested in purchasing Oi SA due to the Brazilian
telecommunications carrier's heavy debt with regulators, Telecom
Italia Chief Executive Flavio Cattaneo told newspaper Valor
Oi owes 20 billion reais ($6.2 billion) in fines, nearly
equal to the market value of Telecom Italia's Brazilian
subsidiary TIM Participações SA.
That means Telecom Italia has no interest in its Brazilian
rival even in the case of a debt refinancing, Valor quoted
Cattaneo as saying. "If Oi manages to split its debt from its
assets...we will be watching," he added.
A press representative for Telecom Italia confirmed
Cattaneo's comments. Press representatives for TIM were not
immediately available to comment on the interview.
The byproduct of a government-sponsored merger at the end of
last decade, Oi, Brazil's No. 4 wireless carrier, succumbed to a
heavy debt burden, mounting competition and years of shareholder
Nevertheless, preferred shares in Oi have risen
44 percent so far this year after touching a record low on June
21, a day after the carrier filed for creditor protection.
Common shares in TIM rose 25 percent in 2016 on
the São Paulo stock exchange, while Telecom Italia shares
fell 36 percent in the period.
Cattaneo took over as chief executive in April and has
promised to step up cost cutting to boost profitability at the
heavily indebted former state phone monopoly.
($1 = 3.22 reais)
(Reporting by Bruno Federowski and Stefano Rebaudo; Editing by